This mainly coastal plant is a summer blooming umbellifer, and you will see swathes of it beside lanes and field boundaries and on sheltered grassy places by the sea. It is a biennial. The umbrella-like white heads have a single purple flower, with unequal petals, in the centre. Black Swallowtail butterflies, Papilio polyxenes, are reportedly very fond of carrot flowers; the white florets have five tiny (2 - 3 mm) petals.
The lower bracts behind the flower heads are conspicuously pinnate (divided into three spikes). As the seeds develop the heads become concave, eventually curling up into a tight, bristly ball. Cultivated carrots come from the sub-species, Daucus carota, var sativa.
The ridged stems of wild carrot are hairy with leaves, which are divided two and more usually three times, on alternate sides of the stem.
Queen Anne's Lace is so called because the tiny purple floret in the centre is the queen and the surrounding white florets make up her lace collar. Another theory is that the queen pricked her finger when lace-making and the purple spot is her blood.